Charley Carrington (pictured) from Last Chance bar in Nottingham was crowned the winner of the fifth annual Opihr World Adventure Cocktail Competition at a final held in Istanbul, Turkey.
The eight bartenders who competed in the final were tasked with creating a cocktail that transcends borders, cities and cultures, and was inspired by their visit to Istanbul.
Each cocktail was to contain no more than five ingredients and made using Opihr Gin. It was also important that the cocktail was deemed accessible to someone who has never tried Opihr Gin before but also to seasoned gin lovers.
The judging panel comprised last year’s Opihr World Adventure Cocktail Competition champion Aaron Pollack, Simone Caporale, formerly of Artesian at the Langham in London, Ondrej Pospichal, Spirit Evangelist at Proof & Company, Hong Kong, and Ibrahim Bulut, head bartender of the hosting venue Mikla.
The judges were impressed by Charley’s ability to add a multisensory experience to a cocktail and give her winning cocktail from the UK regional final a twist to link up with the hosting city.
Charley said: “I have had the most amazing time here in Istanbul and learned so much from my fellow bartenders. It means the absolute world to me to be crowned the global champion.”
The two days preceding the final were busy for the finalists with the group immersing themselves in Istanbul’s culturally rich streets and getting inspired by the city’s tastes and smells, as well as being introduced to new ingredients by their fellow bartenders from the world over.
They embarked on a walking tour, the ‘Istanbul on food’, where the bartenders sourced their meals from a local market in the east of the city, followed by a visit to a local tea house, and a stroll through a spice market. At the market the contestants sourced local ingredients and props to bring their cocktails to life for the judges.
On day two, the contestants were introduced to the skillful art of glassblowing, which left them in awe of the glassware they are using in their bars back home. The session offered further inspiration for the presentation of their final cocktail.
Crowned the Spirit of Opihr, Charley will now get the opportunity to work on exciting projects and support the Opihr brand team around the world in an honorary brand ambassador role.
Judge Ondrej Pospichal said: “I like how Charley’s cocktail was simple and modern and incorporated current drinks trends such as whey. I also like how she makes syrups and cordials at home.
“The cocktail is easy to replicate at home but complex enough for an adventurous bartender who would like to bring the unique taste of Opihr Gin to consumers in a different way.”
Robert Milton, international brand director for Opihr Gin at brand owner Quintessential Brands, said: “The calibre of the contestants has been impressive and they have all shown tremendous interest in the local culture and understood what Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin is about – the journey and not necessarily the destination.
“We are already looking forward to next year’s competition, and are excited to follow the future journeys of all our bartenders who have become part of the Opihr family this week.”
The seven other finalists were: Salvatore Calvo from the Netherlands, Julian Short from South Africa, Barney O’Kane from Ireland, Nguyen Thanh Trung from Vietnam, Loreta Kwong from Australia, Alan Alvarez from Mexico, and Alessio Turetta from Italy.
Serefe by Charley Carrington (pictured below)
50ml Opihr Oriental Spiced Gin
25ml Spiced pomegranate wine cordial
25ml Grapefruit/goat whey